Farewell to Ducky: Which Stars Returned for Emotional NCIS Tribute? Rate the Episode Now!

In the February 19th episode of CBS’ NCIS, titled “The Stories We Leave Behind,” the show bid a poignant farewell to Dr. Donald “Ducky” Mallard and honored the late David McCallum, who portrayed him. Written by cast member Brian Dietzen and executive producer Scott Williams, the script masterfully captured the impact of Ducky’s death on both current and past team members.

The episode began with Dr. Jimmy Palmer, portrayed by Dietzen, arriving to pick up Dr. Mallard, only to discover that his mentor had peacefully passed away during the night. This cold open was chosen to allow viewers to share in a moment of communal grief, acknowledging McCallum’s significant impact on audiences over the years.

The usual upbeat NCIS theme was replaced with a more somber version, chosen to reflect the mood of the episode and pay respect to McCallum’s legacy. The decision to modify the opening sequence was made out of consideration for the emotional weight of the storyline.

As the team navigated an unexpected case involving a young woman seeking Ducky’s help to clear her father’s name, they were reminded of their shared experiences with the sage medical examiner. Flashbacks and reflections on past conversations and cases underscored the profound impact Ducky had on those around him.

Towards the episode’s conclusion, as the team prepared to attend Ducky’s funeral, a surprise guest appearance by Michael Weatherly’s Very Special Agent Anthony DiNozzo provided a touching moment of connection to the show’s history. DiNozzo’s presence, coupled with heartfelt words of wisdom, served as a reminder of the lasting influence individuals like Ducky leave behind.

The episode concluded with an In Memoriam card dedicated to David McCallum, honoring his contributions to the show and the enduring impact of his character.

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